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Chancellor should support pub and brewing industry with a beer duty cut

Chancellor should support pub and brewing industry with a beer duty cut
3 min read

Pubs are often the hub of a local community and the Government should do more to help them, says Steve Double MP.

Today I am moving a debate in Parliament on why I believe the Chancellor should take the important step of cutting Beer Duty in tomorrow’s Budget. 

As a proud Cornishman, I have always had a great appreciation of our pubs, of which there are many great examples in Cornwall, and the great positive impact they can have on our communities. Since getting elected in 2015, I am proud to have become involved the All Party Parliamentary Group for Beer, of which I am currently a Vice Chair.

The last Labour Government did not do the pub and beer industry any favours. From 2008 they put the infamous Beer Duty Escalator in place, which automatically increased Beer Duty by 2% above inflation annually, including an initial 6% hike and an additional 6% increase above inflation in the 2008 Pre-Budget Statement. Under the Beer-Duty Escalator, Beer Duty increased by a total of 42%, 75,000 jobs were lost and 3,700 pubs closed.

The Conservative-led Coalition Government sensibly scrapped the Escalator and over recent years we have seen three successive duty cuts and a freeze in duty at the last Budget. I believe it is important that we continue to support the beer and pub industry because of the very positive impacts they have on our communities.

For example, I have also been pleased to see The Pub is the Hub initiative, championed by the Prince of Wales, having tremendous success around the country in encouraging landlords to take all sorts of community facilities that would otherwise have been lost into their establishments, even allowing the community themselves to own their pubs. Pubs can also be community hubs that promote community cohesion and initiatives like this help them to realise their potential.

The presence of pubs in our communities, from the village pub to the high street chains in our cities, can also discourage anti-social street drinking, impacting positively on crime figures, and promote responsible drinking.

Apart from these sometimes over-looked areas, the positive importance of the brewing and pub industry to the country’s economy cannot be under-estimated. Across the country the sector supports almost 900,000 jobs and adds £23bn in value to the UK economy.

In the Cornish constituency I represent, St Austell and Newquay, St Austell Brewery is an important and growing employer, exporting its own brand of Cornish beers across the country and around the world. In St Austell and Newquay alone the beer and pub sector supports 3091 jobs and provides £86m in value to the local economy.

With all of these major positives, I think there is more that the Government can do to help our hard working publicans and brewers here.

This is why I am calling on the Chancellor to do a ‘Proper Job’ in the spirit of one St Austell Brewery’s most beloved exports, and reduce Beer Duty in tomorrow’s Budget.

Steve Double is the Conservative Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay

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